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Leading items and editorials

Linux: a Ben and Jerry's or Amazon business? For those who have not yet read it, we strongly recommend a look at this "strategy letter" by Joel Spolsky. It divides startup businesses into two broad categories, each named after a company that epitomizes it:
  • Ben and Jerry's companies operate in a slow, "organic" growth mode, usually without large outside investments. The founders of a Ben and Jerry's business may have large and ambitious goals, but they realize that it will take many years to achieve them. These companies usually seek to make money from the beginning, because they have to.

  • Amazon companies operate in the "land grab" mode - the goal is to get as big as possible as quickly as possible, with small details like profitability having little importance.

Obviously the two different types of companies are two very different places to be, though each has its advantages. Beyond that, however, the author makes two points about these company models that are worth some consideration. First is that every company has to choose one or the other and be serious about it. Attempts to mix the two approaches will fail.

The other is that the market the company is in can determine which model will be successful. Land grabs can be called for when there are large network effects, and there is little competition in the area already. The Ben and Jerry's model makes more sense when competition exists, and customer lock-in is relatively weak. Amazon had to grab the turf before somebody else did, while Ben and Jerry's could not have done an ice cream land grab whether it wanted to or not.

So how do these models apply to the business of Linux? Until sometime around 1998, Linux companies all followed the Ben and Jerry's model, for the simple reason that the funding for aggressive growth did not exist. Companies like Red Hat, SuSE, VA Linux, LinuxMall.com, and others grew slowly for years as Linux slowly caught on.

Much of that has changed over the last two years, as funding for Amazon-type companies became available. Now, it seems, being a proper Linux company requires regular acquisitions, constant growth, and wild expenditures of cash. Lineo, currently in the IPO process, is a classic example of the new type of Linux company. By way of no less than six acquisitions, it has sought to gain both size and market share as quickly as possible. Most other high-profile Linux companies are also operating in the Amazon mode.

But is that the way that Linux businesses should work? Land grabs work when there are strong network and lock-in effects. Linux does have the usual network effects associated with operating systems - every user who adopts Linux makes your Linux system worth more. But this effect is truly a tide that lifts all boats, because lock-in with Linux is nearly absent. That is, after all, one of the advantages of Linux. Changing from one distributor or support provider to another may not be entirely fun, but it is not that big a deal, either.

Thus territory occupied by land grabs is going to be very hard to defend. Massive marketing budgets and acquisitions may well succeed in getting customers, but those same customers will head for the door quickly if they are not happy with what they find - they have many other alternatives. When you use Linux, you are not locked in to any vendor.

Linux itself has grown in the Ben and Jerry's mode - slowly, patiently, and without the ability to "acquire" market share. It may well be that the most successful Linux businesses, in the end, operate in the same way. The model for these businesses may not be a corporation at all; it may, instead, be the Debian project. Debian continues to grow in users and developers both, despite its publicly-traded competition. Wouldn't it be interesting if the Linux business model that found the most success in the long term were based on some variant of Debian's constitutionally-driven cooperative, distributed setup?

Oracle's "Internet appliance" system is out. The "New Internet Computer" (NIC) is the latest result of Larry Ellison's long personal crusade to make non-Microsoft systems available to the world. It's aimed at people who only want access to the net; as such, it's essentially a $199 (without monitor) X terminal. It has a 266 MHz processor, 64MB of memory, Ethernet and USB ports, a CDROM, and a built-in modem. And, of course, a Linux operating system. (Some) more information may be found in the press release.

What it doesn't have is a hard drive. The NIC boots directly from CD, and the entire system is to be found there. A bit of flash memory is provided for the saving of bookmarks (and, presumably, cookies); otherwise the system is completely read-only.

The creation of a "no maintenance" system makes a lot of sense for the intended audience. One wonders, though, what will happen when the first nasty, remotely-exploitable security hole in the NIC is found. Will Oracle ship new CDs to every customer? Even if the company were willing to take on that expense, how quickly could that distribution be done? One can hope that the NIC has been configured with security in mind, but, even so, the possibility of widespread, unfixable security problems is a bit worrisome.

The CD-based nature of the system also makes customization difficult in general. Fortunately, the architecture of the NIC is more open than, say, the iOpener. If the device is successful, one can expect to see a wide market in value-added replacement OS disks. One could imagine creating NICs oriented toward a number of dedicated tasks, from recipe management to point-of-sale or factory floor applications.

It is far too early to say whether the NIC will be a successful product. The network appliance market is still unformed and untested, after all. But this system shows, perhaps, how Linux may take over the desktop - and countertop - after all.

Software Patents Still on European Commission Agenda. EuroLinux has issued this update warning that the European Commission agenda still includes the topic of software patents. Whatever your opinion on this matter, be aware that following the issue and making sure you have an opportunity to voice your opinion before a decision is made is important.

"The General Directorate for Internal Market at the European Commission has not changed its ideologic position in favour of software patents."

A wealth of conferences is on tap for next week. The O'Reilly Open Source Software Convention is happening July 17 to 20 in Monterey, California; LWN's Dennis Tenney will be attending, and we hope to have contributed reports from another attendee. Those interested in hard-core hacking, however, will be heading north to the Ottawa Linux Symposium, held July 19 to 22. LWN editor Jon Corbet plans to be there, if some last-minute complications don't get in the way. The Ottawa event, limited to 500 attendees, sold out on June 23.

Inside this week's Linux Weekly News:

  • Security: ssh license restrictions a boon for openssh, watch out for patent issues, though.
  • Kernel: Fixing the latency problems, memory management issues.
  • Distributions: Debian's 0th conference, Red Hat HA server, SuSE on the IBM S/390.
  • Development: geda, Mozilla developer meeting, Erlang conference, real time Linux.
  • Commerce: Deals, new products, Napster and Sourceforge.
  • Back page: Linux links, this week in Linux history, and letters to the editor
...plus the usual array of reports, updates, and announcements.

This Week's LWN was brought to you by:

July 13, 2000


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See also: last week's Security page.

News and Editorials

SSH 1.2.30 released, new restrictive license. Since we published last week's Security Summary, two new versions of SSH 1.2.X have been released, 1.2.29 and 1.2.30. Both of these newer versions include bug-fixes, some of them security-related. In addition, though, as a kicker, both of the new versions have an updated license, directly taken from the ssh 2.X series. The license for ssh 1.X and 2.X has never been totally free, but the original 1.X license allowed both commercial and non-commercial uses in most cases. As of this point, anyone wanting to continue to use the ssh 1.X series will probably need to purchase a commercial license in order to do so (student and faculty members using it for non-commercial or charitable purposes are excepted).

When we posted the above item on the LWN Daily Page earlier this week, we also pointed out the availability of OpenSSH, a free software alternative to SSH from the folks at OpenBSD. OpenSSH supports both the ssh 1 and ssh2 protocols. It seems likely that many people who haven't bothered to move from ssh to openssh, if only because of inertia, may decide to do so now that SSH Communications has decided to further restrict their licensing.

We must, however, include one caveat, courtesy of Dave Finton, who pushed us to investigate potential patent issues with OpenSSH. Although OpenSSH itself is a free software product, openssh 1.X does use the patented RSA algorithm, which could get a commercial company into trouble, if they choose to move to it:

SSH comes in two varieties. The older protocol 1 comes in two major variants: protocol 1.3 and protocol 1.5. Both are supported by OpenSSH. Both of these use the asymmetric cryptography algorithm RSA (which is patented in the USA) for key negotiation, and then use a short list of symmetric algorithms for data hiding: 3DES and Blowfish (there used to be a few others, but they had security problems). Some ssh 1 implementations also include the IDEA symmetric algorithm, but because it is patented in some nations, and because the other two supplied algorithms are sufficient, OpenSSH ships without it.
Our story still has a happy ending, though, because the newer openssh 2.X series has no dependence on any patented algorithms:
The other SSH variety is protocol 2. Protocol 2 was invented to avoid the patent issues regarding RSA, and to fix the CRC data integrity problem that SSH1 has. By using the asymmetric DSA and DH algorithms, protocol 2 avoids all patents.

ZDNet calls this outcome a Cinderella story, not just because OpenSSH was created as a free alternative to SSH, but because the project was already fully-developed and available to replace SSH Communication's ssh, the minute they chose to restrict their license too far. "The moral of this tale? Next time you encounter a piece of software whose license is too restrictive for your tastes, don't get mad; do what the OpenSSH project did and get even!"

For even more fun, check out the feedback on the above ZDNet article. One respondent compared the situation to another several years ago:

A similar Cinderella story occurred when University Minnesota put "excessively restrictive" licensing terms on commercial use of the then "open sourced" gopher software which triggered a flight of commercial users into the arms of a nascent technology out of CERN called world wide web. I was one of them.

Rain Forest Puppy's White Paper. In last week's Security Summary, we link to a ZDNet article that discusses a white paper from Rain Forest Puppy on proposed guidelines for researchers and vendors dealing with security issues. The ZDNet article did not provide a URL for RFP's white paper, which is available at http://www.wiretrip.net/rfp/policy.html. (Thanks to Alex Butcher, Brent J. Nordquist and others).

Openhack-interactive security redux (eWeek/ZDNet). eWeek/ZDNet promotes OpenHack, its current challenge/contest to hackers to break into a set of preconfigured systems. "Some in the industry say that hacking contests are just publicity stunts, positing that, since the typical prize money is so small, no hacker worth his or her salt would want to participate. My view is more practical. Hackers who deface Web sites aren't in it for the money. They may not even be in it for the publicity. They do it because they can."

Security Reports

/tmp vulnerabilities in XFree86 4.0.1. Joseph S. Myers reported a /tmp vulnerability in the installation program for XFree86 4.0.1, commenting that he had previously reported the same problem for XFree86 4.0 in March and that other such errors could be found elsewhere in XFree86. BugTraq ID 1430 gives a concise list of the vulnerabilities he has reported. No comment has been seen from the XFree86 development team as of yet, nor any distribution updates.

XFree86 4.0 local root vulnerability. FreeBSD has issued an advisory regarding a vulnerability in XFree86 4.0 that can be exploited by a local user to get root access. They provide updated packages but also discourage the installation of XFree86 4.X on multi-user systems with untrusted local users. They also indicated that XFree86 4.0.1 most likely contains a fix for this problem.

BitchX format bug. BitchX, a popular IRC client, contains an exploitable formatting error, both in 1.0c16 and 75p3. An exploit can take the client down remotely. Patches for both versions have been made available.

ftp setproctitle() vulnerability. A format string vulnerability in setproctitle() impacts multiple versions of ftp, including proftpd, wu-ftpd, FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD. An upgrade to proftpd 1.2 and FreeBSD 2.2 or later will fix the problem for those platforms.

LPRng incorrect file permissions. LPRng author Patrick Powell posted an advisory reporting that LPRng 3.6.15 and earlier incorrectly installed by default suid root. He identified a manner in which the root privilege could be exploited and recommended that all users of LPRng remove the suid root permissions or upgrade to LPRng 3.6.20, in which the installation no longer assigns suid root.

Note, however, that the removal of root permissions may break compatibility with the older lpr/lpd installations, according to Cy Schubert.

tnef remote compromise. SuSE issued a security advisory regarding a vulnerability in tnef that could be remotely exploited to overwrite system files. tnet is a program that extracts mail packaged in Microsoft Outlook format. Updated packages are provided.

FreeBSD: libedit. FreeBSD has issued an advisory for problems with the libedit library, where its use of a configuration file can be abused to cause a user of libedit to execute commands unknowingly. A patch for the problem is provided.

CGI scripts. The following CGI scripts were reported to contain vulnerabilities:

Commercial products. The following commercial products were reported to contain vulnerabilities:


wu-ftpd. Check the June 15th Security Summary for a link to the mini-audit that turned up the latest set of problems with wu-ftpd. wu-ftpd 2.6.1 contains fixes for this problem. Note that this is not the same problem as multiple vendor ftpd security report listed above.

man/makewhatis vulnerability. A /tmp file vulnerability has been found in makewhatis versions 1.5e and higher. Check last week's LWN Security Summary for the original report.

This week's updates:

Previous updates:

dump/restore. A security vulnerability in dump/restore has been fixed as of dump 0.4b18. Check the June 15th Security Summary for details.

canna. Check last week's Security Summary for more details.

Buffer overflow in inn. A buffer overflow in inn 2.2.2 has been reported that can be an issue if the option "verifycancels" in /etc/news/inn.conf is set to "true". Setting this option to "false" should fix the problem.

ISC DHCP client. Check the June 29th Security Summary for more details. An upgrade to 2.0pl1 or 3.0b1pl14 should resolve the problem.

Qpopper. Check the May 25th Security Summary for more details. Qpopper 3.0.2 or later should fix this problem.

OpenSSH. Check the June 15th Security Summary for details.

Majordomo wrapper vulnerability. Check the June 1st Security Summary for the initial report.

FreeBSD system call. FreeBSD has issued an updated advisory regarding a system call problem originally discussed in the June 1st Security Summary.


Bastille Linux 1.1.1.pre2. A minor update to the Bastille Linux security hardening script has been made available, including bug fixes and improvements to the API library.

Nessus 1.0.2. OpenBSD support has been added, as of this latest minor update to the Nessus security scanner.

Secure-Linux Patch 2.2.16 version 1. The secure-linux patch has been updated to support the latest stable kernel, 2.2.16.

PScan simple security scanner. In response to the growing number of reports of exploitable format string vulnerabilities, Alan DeKok announced PScan, a simple program that checks for potential format string problems in the source code.

Building Internet Firewalls, second edition released. O'Reilly has announced the release of the second edition of "Building Internet Firewalls". "The second edition is much expanded. It covers Linux and Windows NT, as well as Unix platforms. It describes a variety of firewall technologies (packet filtering, proxying, network address translation, virtual private networks) as well as architectures (e.g., screening routers, dual-homed hosts, screened hosts, screened subnets, perimeter networks, internal firewalls)."

Cybernotes (July 3rd). The July 3rd edition of Cybernotes, a publication from the National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC), is now available (PDF format). Cybernotes is published bi-weekly and produces a spread-sheet-like listing of reported vulnerabilities and affected operating systems.


July/August security events.
Date Event Location
July 14-16, 2000. H2K / HOPE 2000 New York, New York, USA.
July 26-27, 2000. The Black Hat Briefings Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
July 28-30, 2000. DEF CON VIII Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
August 14-17, 2000. 9th Usenix Security Symposium Denver, Colorado, USA.
August 14-18, 2000. Ne2000 (Networking 2000) Lunteren, The Netherlands
August 18-20, 2000. Hack Forum 2000 Ukraine
August 20-24, 2000. Crypto 2000 Santa Barbara, California, USA
Aug 22-23, 2000. WebSec 2000 San Francisco, California, USA
For additional security-related events, included training courses (which we don't list above) and events further in the future, check out Security Focus' calendar, one of the primary resources we use for building the above list.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

July 13, 2000

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See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

The current development kernel release is 2.4.0-test3. This revision is a 4.5MB patch which touches over 1100 files and brings some significant changes. It contains a great many architecture-specific updates, including the addition of Cobalt Microserver support as a separate MIPS sub-architecture. There is the addition of a massive "ACPI interpreter" (it adds 120KB to a compiled kernel) which will someday make advanced power management capabilities available. The "memory technology device" driver has been integrated, bringing support for a great many "disk on chip" and flash memory devices; along with this support comes the Journaling Flash File System from Axis Communications. Also in this patch is an IEEE1394 ("firewire") update which includes new video support, an experimental USB Bluetooth driver, a Keyspan USB-to-serial driver, a reorganization of the USB storage driver, a major cleanup of the slab memory allocator, a reworking of the IP packet reassembly code, and the usual long list of little fixes.

Here's the diffstat listing for those who want to see the full list of files changed by this patch.

There is also a 2.4.0-test4 prepatch out there, currently in its fifth revision. This relatively small patch includes the addition of support for Orion boards as another MIPS sub-architecture, a big update to the Microgate SyncLink ISA and PCI serial adapter driver, more ACPI code work, and a number of other small tweaks.

The current stable kernel release is still 2.2.16. The 2.2.17 prepatch is up to 2.2.17pre11, but there was no announcement for this revision. Alan does say that he hopes 2.2.17pre12 "or so" will be the final prepatch release.

Latency, continued. The latency discussion continued to simmer slowly over the last week, in a more constructive mode. It may well be that a Linus-acceptable, low-latency patch will make it into the 2.4 kernel.

Latency problems come about when the kernel code spends an excessively long time on one task, to the detriment of others. Thus all of the attempts to attack latency problems have come down to finding places where the kernel hogs the CPU for too long and breaking them up. In the end, a low-latency patch consists mostly of the addition of "rescheduling points," places where the code checks for other things to do and possibly allows another process to run.

The addition of rescheduling points must be done with care, since the kernel is full of places where it is not prepared to be interrupted. It is also easy to get into the mode of tossing rescheduling points in everywhere, without really thinking about whether they are really needed or whether there is a better solution to the problem. Linus's objections to the current patches are based in a dislike of the shotgun approach to rescheduling points. A few, well thought-out points are acceptable; lots of them are not.

Thus the current work is aimed at the insertion of a minimal number of these rescheduling points, and justifying each one well. Andrew Morton has taken on this task, and appears to have come up with some good results. He posted an initial patch which inserted six rescheduling points, and which reliably produced 4ms latency results as long as you avoided things on his "don't do that" list (included with the patch). He also made available a set of tools for measuring latencies.

That patch drew a few complaints because one of the "don't do this" items was deleting large files - something that people who work with audio tend to do a lot of. That particular problem turned out to be solvable. The latest version of the patch is up to nine rescheduling points, and provides latencies of less than 1ms 99.999% of the time.

Linus has not passed any (public) judgment on this patch, but it would appear to meet his criteria for an acceptable low-latency fix. It may well go in. Meanwhile, the long-term solution is likely to be different - the 2.5 development series will probably make kernel code preempt-able in most places. At that point, most of the code is automatically a rescheduling point, and the need to put them in explicitly will go away.

(Roger Larsson has also updated his latency profiling patch).

Memory management - the other performance problem. The current development kernels still have significant problems with memory management in some situations, leading to much worse performance than 2.2 in some situations. A number of kernel hackers are currently working on the problem, which is perhaps one of the biggest obstacles to the 2.4.0 release. The problems, unfortunately, are not something that can be fixed with a few small tweaks; it goes deeper than that.

One thing that needs to be done, according to Stephen Tweedie, is to separate the tasks of taking memory away from a process and committing its contents to disk. The addition of this sort of "multiqueue" structure, being done by Rik van Riel, will make a lot of tasks easier; according to Stephen: "I really think we need to forget about tuning the 2.4 VM until we have such fundamental structures in place. Until we have done that hard work, we're fine-tuning a system which is ultimately fragile."

In other words, it is going to be a while before Linux memory management is ready for 2.4.0.

The 2.5 development series looks to be fun as well, since there seems to be a consensus that memory management needs to be thrown out and done over at that point.

The Linux-USB mailing lists are moving. Have a look at this announcement to see how to make the transition and subscribe to the new lists.

Other patches and updates released this week include:

  • Stephen Tweedie released version 0.0.2e of the ext3 journaling filesystem. This release was quickly followed by version 0.0.2f, which fixes a problem that came up.

  • Speaking of journaling filesystems, ReiserFS 3.6.11 was also released this week.

  • Devfs v176 was released by Richard Gooch.

  • Keith Owens has released modutils-2.3.12; this release contains a necessary fix for those using the current devfs code.

  • Ftape-4.03 was released by Claus-Justus Heine. He has also announced that 4.03 will be his last release, and has requested that somebody else step forward as the ftape maintainer. This could be a good task for somebody looking for a way to help out kernel development.

Section Editor: Jonathan Corbet

July 13, 2000

For other kernel news, see:

Other resources:


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See also: last week's Distributions page.

Lists of Distributions
Woven Goods


Please note that security updates from the various distributions are covered in the security section.

New Distributions

IceLinux. IceLinux is a new distribution self-dubbed, "The Linux Gaming Platform of the future". Please note that the distribution is *so* new, that it hasn't actually been built yet. Nonetheless, the goal to build a distribution specifically as a gaming platform, to take a look at Linux's shortcomings in this arena and make it a priority to address them, is certainly admirable. Good luck! (Contributed from Ratatosk).

Serial Terminal Linux. Another mini-distribution, Serial Terminal Linux is a single-floppy which contains minicom, allowing old computers and laptops to be used as serial terminals. The latest release allows support for multiple virtual consoles, one for each serial port on the computer.

Minor updates

Caldera OpenLinux

New FAQs. This week's new FAQs from Caldera includes tips on disabling module loading upon startup, an issue that is becoming of more interest lately for security reasons.

Caldera Systems' OpenLinux Power Solutions Tour 2000. Caldera Systems has announced its "Power Solutions Tour 2000," starting July 11 in Toronto. The tour then moves to the U.S. with several stops in July.


Conectiva receives investments. Conectiva has announced the receipt of investments from Intel Capital and LatinTech Capital. The amounts, of course, have not been disclosed.


Report from the Zeroth Debian Conference. Marcelo Magallon has written up a report from the Zeroth Debian Conference, which was held in Bordeaux, France, on July 5 to 9. It is a comprehensive and interesting summary, worth a read.

Debian Weekly News (July 11th). This week's Debian Weekly News is available, with a brief summary and links from the Zeroth Debian Conference, an update on the upcoming test cycle 3 and apparently a pending decision to dump libc5 support from future Debian releases.

Why we need Debian (ZDNet). Evan Leibovitch takes a moment to talk about why Debian is the most important Linux distribution. "In a world of NDA-bound business agreements, Debian is an open book. In a world of mission statements, Debian has a Social Contract. At a time when commercial distributors are striving to see how much proprietary software they can pack into a box of Linux, Debian remains the bastion of software freedom -- living proof that you can have a fully functional and usable operating system without needing any proprietary code."

Libranet Linux

Libranet Linux available for download. The Libranet Linux distribution is now available for download. Libranet is a desktop-oriented distribution. It is described on the web page as "memberware" - one is supposed to sign up for a $10 membership to use the software (though the download is unrestricted).


Linux-Mandrake and MacMillan: good or bad for LM's future?. On the Linux-Mandrake forum, one reader/poster voiced his opinion that Linux-Mandrake made a mistake forming an exclusive relationship with MacMillan. "Macmillan is a big player, but they look like a newborn child in comparison with names like Ingram Micro , Tech Data, Gates/Arrow distributing, Merisel, and others .... who last year made billions of dollars in sales distributing "that other OS" (windows) and all parts that go in and out of a computer."

The semi-official response? "Due to MacMillans distribution channels, Mandrake-Linux has been catapulted from 0 to 2nd best selling Linux distribution in less than a year! And we are heading full-spead towards being number one."

Red Hat

Red Hat announces high availability server distribution. Red Hat has announced a new version of its distribution called "Red Hat High Availability Server 1.0". As might be expected, it's a clustering product, aimed at web server and other such applications; it includes failover and security features. It also includes a higher price tag: $1995. If you wish though, you can also download the software.

News.com took a look at the new product. "As is customary with Red Hat, the software is open source, meaning it can be downloaded and modified for free. The $1,995 version, however, offers automated setup, detailed manuals, a more hacker-proof default installation, and a year of technical support, said spokeswoman Becky Mananich."

We checked with Becky Mananich on the "more hacker-proof default installation" comment. She indicated that the High Availability Server currently incorporates all the security patches that have been released for Red Hat 6.2. In addition, the installation procedure, in comparison to Red Hat 6.2, offers a "cluster" option in which only the required components for clustering are installed and enabled, always a good choice for security.

Slackware Linux

Slackware 7.1 Preview (GnuLinux.com). GnuLinux.com reviews the Slackware 7.1 beta. "In summary, there's not a huge change between 7.0 and 7.1 (not that we were expecting one), but everything that has changed has definitely changed for the better."

Slackware Tools. A couple of Slackware tools were announced this week, including slackUp 1.0, an auto-upgrade program that can be used to keep your Slackware distribution in sync with the Slackware-current tree. Alternately, you can use it to upgrade a single package.

Version 1.1 of the Slackware package manager was also announced this week. It supports packages in both rpm and .tgz format.


Preliminary release of SuSE Linux for S/390. SuSE has announced the release of a preliminary version of its distribution for the IBM S/390 platform.

SuSE Executive Interview (32BitsOnline). 32BitsOnline interviews Volker Wiegand, President of SuSE USA. "At this point we are observing the embedded market closely, but have no immediate plans to enter the market. We believe that embedded systems are still dominated more by hardware manufacturers, and Linux is only in its early stages there. Right now, we are building up the relevant expertise and are identifying opportunities."

Reader Report: SuSE Linux (MacInTouch). The Mac community is taking a closer look at Linux, as demonstrated by this Reader Report on SuSE Linux in MacInTouch. "Summary: SuSE Linux is a very interesting UNIX alternative for those who don't have the money or hardware to use Mac OS X Server and can't wait for Mac OS X. It is perfect for a network server and the server tools included would cost hundreds of dollars on the Macintosh platform. Linux is also a great environment for programmers, it is probably less attractive as a desktop alternative to the Mac OS". [Editor note: this link works most of the time, but apparently not for everyone].

Yellow Dog Linux

Terra Soft to bundle RTLinux. Terra Soft Solutions has announced that the real-time Linux (RTLinux) patches will be integrated into future versions of the Black Lab Linux and Champion Server products.

Embedded Linux

Report from the first Embedded Linux Expo & Conference (LinuxDevices). Rick Lehrbaum has issued his report from the first Embedded Linux Expo, held June 22. "The ELEC technical conference was completely sold out by the morning of the event, resulting in "standing room only" during nearly all the presentations. Likewise, all of the expo space was fully booked by product vendors, producing an extremely vibrant Embedded Linux Expo that was bustling with the enthusiasm of a rapidly expanding market.

One pleasant surprise was the international flavor of the event. Although most conference participants were from the US, the following countries were also represented: Armenia, Canada, England, Germany, Korea, China, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and the UK."

Embedded Linux Consortium seats first board of directors. The Embedded Linux Consortium has announced the election of its first board of directors: Inder Singh, Michael Tiemann, James Ready, Tim Bird, Dan Bandera, and Greg Wright.

Team takes different path to real-time Linux (EE Times). This EE Times article takes a look at RTLinux. " Dubbed RTLinux, the OS doesn't try to change Linux into an RTOS, but instead provides a homemade RTOS kernel that incorporates Linux as a low-priority thread. Thus the RTOS stays as small and streamlined as possible - a principal goal of RTLinux's creators - while retaining Linux as the basis for common applications."

Group plans to launch Real Time Linux Consortium (LinuxDevices.com). Here's an article on LinuxDevices.com about plans to launch a real time Linux consortium at the second Real Time Linux Workshop in November. "The RTL community expressed their interest in a uniform and standardized API which they can rely on. Moreover, for most of them and especially for industry, the existence of such an API with a certain continuity and consistency guaranteed for a longer period, constitutes a basic requirement and condition for the use of RTL."

e-smith Launches server 4.0. Last week, we mentioned e-smith 4.0b10. Apparently 10 betas was sufficient; e-smith has announced the release of version 4.0 of its Linux-based "server and gateway" product.

TimeSys Offers pSOS support. TimeSys has joined the list of embedded Linux companies providing pSOS support, this time via a pSOS "abstraction layer" on top of their Linux distribution, TimeSys Linux/RT. They are using the RTAI (Real Time Application Interface) for their real-time Linux support.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

July 13, 2000

Please note that not every distribution will show up every week. Only distributions with recent news to report will be listed.

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Also well-known
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General Purpose
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Bad Penguin Linux
Black Cat Linux
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CAEN Linux
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Complete Linux
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ix86 Linux
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Virtual Linux
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GNU/Linux Ututo
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Linux Esware
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Related Projects
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Historical (Non-active)
MCC Interim Linux
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Development projects

News and Editorials

Microprocessor development and Linux Linux has proven itself to be an excellent platform for developing code with many generic tools available for a wide variety of projects. The world of 4, 8, and 12 bit microprocessor development is an area that could benefit from a broader base of Linux tools. Currently, assemblers and disassemblers make up most of the free software for working with microprocessors. To date, there doesn't appear to be much support from the microprocessor manufacturers for Linux In Circuit Emulators (ICE) and EPROM/Microprocessor programmers. Perhaps some of the recent Linux activity in the embedded world will inspire these companies to start releasing their development tools under Linux.

The Microchip PIC chips are now supported by the GPASM assembler. Paul Vollebregt's GnuPIC site lists a number of useful micro development tools, some of which are open-source. Speaking of PICs, take a look at the world's smallest web server which is claimed to fit into a matchbox. There are several free assemblers available for the Motorola Motorola 680X/6811 series chips.

Mozilla Status July 6, 2000. The latest Mozilla Status Update is out. Work on Mozilla involving Tru64, XML, DOM, LDAP, XPToolkit, and Composer are discussed.

Mozilla Developer Meeting Aug 18. Alphanumerica will be sponsoring the Second Mozilla Developer Meeting on Aug 18 at the Netscape campus in Mountain View, California. Alphanumerica has created a mailing list for the event. The meeting will be held just after the Linux World Expo in San Jose.


PostgreSQL v7.0.2 Released . The PostgreSQL Global Development Group has released PostgreSQL v7.0.2. This is a bug fix release for v7.0 and v7.0.1, improved documentation is included.


Geda Snapshot for July 4, 2000. The Geda project has released a new snapshot of it's electronics design and analysys tools. New versions of gschem and gnetlist are included along with improved documentation and more symbol libraries.


Wine Weekly News for July 10. This week's Wine Weekly News is out. Numerous bug fixes are mentioned, but the main item of interest is an announcement from Corel that, now that PHOTO-PAINT is released, the company plans to merge all of its WINE work back into the project's tree and work more closely with the WINE project in the future. Corel also plans to help bring about the long-awaited WINE 1.0 release.

Common threads: Introduction to Samba, Part 2 (IBM). Daniel Robbins of IBM's Developer Works has published the second article in a three part series on Samba. This article covers installation and basic configuration of Samba and is an easy introduction to this useful system.

Network Management

OpenNMS Update Volume 1.16. The latest OpenNMS Update has been released. Current code work involves an Event Subsystem, ICMPD in Perl, a Service Control Manager, and capsd.

Office Applications

Evolution 0.2. Right on the heels of Evolution 0.1 comes Evolution 0.2, which integrates the Gnome mailer, calendar, and address book. Many new features are currently being added.

Resynthesizer 0.2 for Gimp. Paul Harrison has written Resynthesizer , a plug-in for Gimp 1.1. Resynthesizer may be used to combine the texture from one image with another image.

Killustrator Review (ShowMeLinux). Geno Boba from Show Me Linux has reviewed Killustrator, A KDE based drawing program. "Once the program is running, it's a fun ride, with a very shallow learning curve, but that's not because there's nothing to it. Modeled in the tradition of Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw, KIllustrator uses a similar intuitive approach, choosing the simpler of the two when there's a choice between Adobe's working environment, and Corel's. Gotta hand it to these guys, they know a good thing when they see it in another program."

On the Desktop

KDE 2.0 Release Plan. The latest release plan for KDE version 2.0 has been published. The Feature Freeze is coming soon and KDE 2.0 is scheduled for release in 8 weeks.

KDE History (Linux Planet). Linux Planet has published an article on the History of KDE. "I don't mean easy to use by Linux standards, either: I mean flat-out easy. You could poke around and figure out just about everything. As you got more familiar with KDE, deeper levels of configuration and customization were apparent. These guys, it seemed, had thought of pretty much everything."


Microwindows v0.88 adds far-eastern language support. The Microwindows project has added support for far-eastern languages. Microwindows is an open-source environment that competes with Microsoft's WinCE platform on palmtop platforms.

Real-Time Systems

Second Workshop on Real Time Linux Nov, 2000. The Thinking Nerds has announced the second Workshop on Real Time Linux, November 27-28, 2000 in Orlando, Florida. There is currently an open call for papers for this conference.

Team takes different path to real-time Linux (EE Times). EE Times has run an article on Real Time Linux with comments from Victor Yodaiken, the developer of RT Linux. "With RTLinux on an X86 platform, interrupt handlers can spring into action within 15 microseconds of the detection of a hardware interrupt, compared with 600 microseconds for standard Linux. That time window is actually determined by hardware and will improve as processors get faster, Yodaiken said. "


DocScope. Minoru Development Corporation has announced DocScope , an open-source project that uses XML to work with medical records. "DocScope will be a free medical information tool that is as natural and easy for physicians to use as the spreadsheet is for accountants."


Speech based web initiative. SpeechWorks International, Inc has announced its plans to build a speech based implementation of the world wide web. The project will be based on the open-source Carnegie Mellon University SPHINX speech recognition software.

Web-site Development

Zope 2.2.0 beta 4 released. The fourth beta for Zope 2.2.0 has been released. This is expected to be the last beta before the final 2.2.0 release.

Zope Weekly News for July 7, 2000. The July 7 edition of the Zope Weekly News is out. Items discussed are the upcoming open source conference, the help system, and documentation.

XML Standards Move Forward (InternetNews). InternetNews published this brief article mentioning that the XML Linking Working Group released its recommendation for the XML Linking Language (XLink) Version 1.0. Comments are being accepted until October 3rd. "'The Working Group is asking developers to look at the document, experiment and give us feedback,' Daly said. 'We are also hoping to see open source implementation, which is important for the success of a specification.'"

Section Editor: Forrest Cook

July 13, 2000

Project Links
High Availability

More Information



Development tools


Sixth International Erlang/OTP User Conference. The Sixth International Erlang/OTP User Conference will be held in Stockholm, Sweden on October 3, 2000. The conference is divided into two parts, applications and technology development.


Glasgow Haskell Compiler version 4.08 released. A new release of the Glasgow Haskell Compiler (GHC), version 4.08 was announced on Friday. Jens-Ulrik Petersen reported, "Apart from loads of bug fixes, the main changes include: a new improved profiling subsystem, fixed x86 native code generator, implicit parameters, and a new package system for libraries". For more details, check the release notes.


Perl 5 Porters summary for July 9, 2000. This week's Perl 5 Porters summary is out. A bug database system and the perl man page table of contents generator, buildtoc are discussed.

Camp Camel. This Year's Camp Camel Perl campout is scheduled for September 7 through 10 in Weyehaeuser Wisconsin. It sounds like a wild time: "Also, bring things to shoot! Like AOL and MSN CD's or old computer hardware!!!!"

Return of Program Repair Shop and Red Flags. Mark-Jason Dominus has written this article on cleaning up and optimizing a perl program. It is a good read if you want to see how an expert perl programmer deconstructs a program.


July 10 Python-URL. Here is Dr. Dobb's Python-URL for July 10. It covers the renaming of the 1.6 release (to Python 2.0) and numerous other topics of interest to the Python development community. Also note that the new Python release will be delayed, for the ominous reason that "a number of issues have arisen that CNRI and BeOpen are in the process of working out."

Developing Gnome Application with Python (Linux Focus). Hilaire Fernandez of Linux Focus has written the first article in a series about Developing Gnome Application with Python. This is an extensive article that describes the building of a GUI based kid's game program.

Five Minutes to a Python CGI(Webreview.com). David Mertz has written a nice article on writing CGI scripts in Python. " Compared to Perl, most people find Python code easier to read and maintain. Compared to VBScript or ColdFusion, Python packs more powerful basic constructs. Compared to PHP, TCL, or REXX (or C for that matter), it's a lot easier to make modular and object-oriented code in Python. Compared to JSP, Python is concise, dynamic, and loosely typed-in short, a lot quicker to develop. Compared to Bash...well. "

Section Editor: Forrest Cook

Language Links
IBM Java Zone
Perl News
Daily Python-URL

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See also: last week's Commerce page.

Linux and Business

Let's Make a Deal. One way to get your software out to a wider audience is to bundle it with other packages. This week we saw a number of deals of this sort. For example, Loki Software announced that they are now shipping PowerPlant, a suite of developer tools and software for Linux from theKompany.com. Loki mostly sells computer games, ported to Linux. theKompany.com has tools that help game developers. It's a win-win situation for both companies and their customers.

Along the same lines, Corel has announced a deal which will get Corel Linux and Word Perfect Office 2000 bundled with systems sold by Andara Technologies.

Sun Microsystems is doing it too. They announced a long list of companies that have agreed to redistribute StarOffice 5.2. The list includes Caldera, Red Hat, TurboLinux, SuSE, MandrakeSoft, Conectiva, Definite Software, Stormix, MacMillan, and Easy Information Technology.

Lineo's product is its Embedix embeddable distribution and they are working with Hitachi Semiconductor to bring Embedix to Hitachi's SuperH processor.

This deal between VistaSource (part of Applix) and Comdisco offers Linux desktop systems, based on refurbished computers, with the intent of making a very low-cost system aimed at schools, non-profit organizations, and other budget-constrained customers.

Services can be shared too, as we see in this announcement from NCR, saying that it will be offering support services for Red Hat's distribution.

Also service-oriented is this press release announcing plans from Cendio Systems and Cell Network to offer new companies developing free software "a complete range of services to help them get their businesses up-and-running more quickly". Cendio will be offering a development platform while Cell Network offers business development services.

New Products. Terra Soft Solutions has announced a demo of an 8-node, Apple G4 cluster running Terra Soft's Black Lab Linux at MacWorld.

MSC Software has released MSC.Nastran DMP for Linux. Dubbed ''Supercomputing Without a Supercomputer'', MSC.Nastran is a package that has been used in the aerospace and automotive industries to distributing large simulation tasks amongst many PC computers.

SolSoft has announced the release of its "Solsoft NSM" proxy firewall code as open source. A quick look at the associated web site shows that the GPL has been used to license the code.

Popular Power, developers of commercial distributed computing software software package released in April, announced the availability of a Linux client for their software. "Once downloaded from www.popularpower.com, the Popular Power software operates in the background of Linux machines. When a PC is idle or has spare processing power, the program gets a small piece of a large computing task from the Popular Power server and returns results when complete. Popular Power's general-purpose commercial software differs from that of earlier, non-commercial efforts in its ability to execute different types of jobs, as opposed to single functions."

An open source release of the client is promised for early next year. The software is envisioned for use in donating time for research projects or even potentially selling unused time to commercial companies at some point in the future.

IBM has announced the availability of "WebSphere Homepage Builder" for Linux.

Napster Press Release. Napster has posted a press release with information from the legal brief they have filed. "First, the RIAA contends that Napster users are infringing. However, under the decision that protected the manufacturing of MP3 players, referred to as "the Diamond decision," and under the Federal statute called the "Audio Home Recording Act," (AHRA) consumers have an absolute right to create and transfer digital music for noncommercial purposes. And since its users are not directly infringing, Napster cannot be liable for contributory infringement."

Sourceforge growth rate 23 percent per month. VA Linux released this press release indicating that new free software projects have been added to the Sourceforge repository at a growth rate of 23 percent per month. Recent high-recognition additions to Sourceforge include MySQL and XFree86.

Press Releases:

Open Source Products.
Unless specified, license is unverified.

  • Last week in this space we reported on SF Interactive, Inc. and its release of TagTemplate website building software to the worldwide open source community. We have since discovered that the module was released under the "GNU Lesser General Public License" The GNU LGPL.

  • The Salutation Consortium (HIGHLAND, Utah), which provides open information exchange standard called service discovery for multi-platform handheld computers, will offer its reference model Salutation Lite code through an "open source arrangement".

Commercial Products for Linux.

  • BigStorage Inc. (San Francisco) announced the unveiling of the tRAID, the first industrial-strength RAID for Linux.

  • Inprise/Borland (SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif.) announced full support of native database driven Apache Server applications in its forthcoming Linux developer tool set code named "Kylix."

  • Linux NetworX, Inc. (SANDY, UTAH) announced the release of ClusterWorX version 1.2, its cluster management software.

  • Macmillan USA (INDIANAPOLIS) announced that Linux-Mandrake 7.1 Deluxe is now available in retail stores. The Deluxe edition includes 7 CDs of applications, utilities and tools.

  • Macro 4 (PARSIPPANY, N.J.) launched UniQPrint for Linux, adding output management for printing, faxing and web site postings to the list of traditional enterprise applications available on Linux.

  • Mele Systems, LLC (GREAT RIVER, NY) announced it will unveil Youseful-Linux, the Linux version of Youseful in both a Delphi and stand-alone version.

  • Proven Accounting, Inc. announced that Proven CHOICE, its multi-user accounting system for Linux, will now be available only through qualified Linux installers and dealers.

  • Quicknet Technologies, Inc. (SAN FRANCISCO) announced their new Linux Special Edition family of products. These products are the Internet LineJACK Linux Edition, Internet PhoneJACK Lite Linux Edition, Internet PhoneJACK-PCI Linux Edition, and Internet PhoneCARD Linux Edition, and Quicknet's "open-sourced" Linux drivers.

  • Rackspace (SAN ANTONIO) introduced Unison, a proprietary load balancing solution.

  • Xi Graphics Inc. (DENVER) released the DeXtop graphical user interface (GUI) is based on the Open Group's CDE or Common Desktop Environment.

  • Xi Graphics Inc. (DENVER) announced 3D graphics support for Linux laptops.

Products with Linux Versions.

  • Aestiva LLC (TORRANCE, Calif.) announced the release of Aestiva HTML/OS 1.8, the latest version of its Web operating system.

  • Dataram Corporation (PRINCETON, N.J.) announced immediate availability of memory products for Silicon Graphics 230 and 330 workstations.

  • Deneba Software (MIAMI) announced the release of Canvas 7.0.2, an integrated design application.

  • Hypercosm, Inc. (SAN JOSE, Calif.) is offering $1,250 in cash for the best interactive 3D applet in one of five categories, use Hypercosm Studio.

  • Lockheed Martin Global Telecommunications (BETHESDA, Md.) announced the launch of its Securedge(SM) VPN (Virtual Private Network) service.

  • MAPICS, Inc. (ATLANTA) announced the global expansion of its Point.Man extended enterprise application (EEA), now available in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

  • Net Talk (LOS ANGELES) announced its voice over IP technology is now available for Red Hat Linux.

  • Opera Software (OSLO, Norway) released the full version of Opera 3.62 for EPOC.

  • Rave Computer Association (Sterling Heights, Michigan) announced that they will integrate SPARC based platforms for customers building a Linux operating environment.

  • SST (Silicon Storage Technology, Inc.) (BOSTON) announced that it has entered the embedded mass data storage market with the introduction of a flash memory-based ATA-Disk Chip (ADC) product family.

  • Tech Soft America (TSA) (ALAMEDA, Calif.) announced the availability of the HOOPS Internet Tools for the creation of web-based visualization applications or publishing models to the web. The HOOPS Internet Tools consist of the HOOPS/Stream and HOOPS/ActiveX Toolkits.

  • Tech Soft America (TSA) (ALAMEDA, Calif.) announced the immediate availability of the HOOPS 3D Application Framework (HOOPS/3dAF) version 5.0, with enhancements and extensions, including the HOOPS Internet Tools module. d

Java Products.

  • Inprise/Borland (SAN DIEGO) announced its e-Commerce Framework Solution, an integrated software and consulting solution.

  • Orbware (LONDON) announced the final release of OrCAS Enterprise Server v4.0 for EJB, a clean room implementation of the Enterprise JavaBeans 1.1 specification.

Books and Training.

  • Advanced Open Source Solutions (AOSS) (Roseville, CA) is offering real-world training courses to high school and college students at the Roseville Linux Training Center.

  • O'Reilly & Associates (Sebastopol, CA) announced "Linux Network Administrator's Guide", by Olaf Kirch. Originally part of the Linux Documentation Project, this book will "enable users to master all those day-to-day, practical issues that arise in Linux networking."

  • O'Reilly (SEBASTOPOL, Calif.) announced a new edition of "Building Internet Firewalls".


  • Cybernet Systems (ANN ARBOR, Mich.) introduced an expanded Value-Added Reseller (VAR) partnership program for NetMAX, their Linux-based Internet appliance software.

  • Lineo, Inc. (LINDON, Utah) announced they are teaming with National Semiconductor Corp. to co-develop Linux-based software development kits for the Information Appliance (IA) market.

  • The Linux Insider (LOS ANGELES) is now offering a free Internet content service for webmasters, Web site owners, and developers of Linux-related sites.

  • Mainsoft Corporation (ORLANDO, Fla.) announced its participation in the Microsoft Visual Studio Integration Program. Mainsoft's MainWin product is a Windows platform for UNIX and Linux, which allows developers to recompile and link Windows-based Visual Studio source code on UNIX and Linux.

  • Sair Linux and GNU Certification (OXFORD, Miss.) signed on as a Sponsoring Corporate Member of Linux International, a non-profit organization of Linux activists.

  • SteelEye Technology Inc. and Caldera Systems Inc. (MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. and OREM, Utah) announced that SteelEye's LifeKeeper reliability clustering product has been certified on Caldera OpenLinux eDesktop and eServer platforms.

Investments and Acquisitions.

  • InterVideo Inc. (SANTA CLARA, Calif.) is getting help from intellectual capital exchange HelloBrain.com. Using that capital, InterVideo will be releasing a Linux version of its product in late summer 2000.

  • Progeny Linux Systems, the startup created by Ian Murdock and Bruce Perens, has announced the completion of its first round of financing. Progeny's focus seems to be on the network management side - their products will be aimed at management of networks of workstations as single systems.

Linux At Work.

  • Linux NetworX has announced that Lockheed Martin is using a 128-processor Linux cluster for aircraft analysis tasks.

  • VA Linux Systems, Inc. (SUNNYVALE, Calif.) announced that Incanta, Inc. is rolling out hundreds of VA Linux servers across its broadband-edge network infrastructure.


  • M-Systems Flash Disk Pioneers Ltd. (BOSTON) announced that leading Linux operating system developers are providing support for DiskOnChip in existing and upcoming Linux distributions.

  • Vovida Networks, Inc. (SAN JOSE, Calif.) is sponsoring a position on the International Softswitch Consortium (ISC) for someone in the Linux development community.

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.

July 13, 2000


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Linux in the News

Recommended Reading.

Tim O'Reilly writes about gated open source communities. "Perhaps the term "gated open source community" has some negative connotations, since it suggests exclusivity, but at bottom, all it means is enabling users of a particular piece of software to form their own private community for source code access and sharing. This is a very appealing scenario for vendors and customers alike. It's also a great set of training wheels for wider participation in more traditional, fully open source projects."


Upside takes a look at PenguinRadio's recent influx of capital. "At least PenguinRadio seems to be weathering the recent market fluctuations better than most Linux-related startups. Last week the company announced what it called "an infusion of venture capital" from Internet Partnership Group, a London-based tech incubator."

This NewsTraders article reports that International Data Group has filed to sell 213,195 shares of VA Linux common stock.

Also from NewsTraders: Red Hat Inc. co-founder Marc Ewing filed to sell 500,000 of the company's common shares, according to this article.

News.com reports on SCO's quarterly results. "Analysts note that SCO has been hurt by the arrival of Linux, a less expensive clone of versions of Unix such as SCO's UnixWare. SCO initially derided Linux, which like SCO's Unix, runs most often on Intel hardware. But SCO has since warmed up to the operating system."


ZDNet looks at Internet server appliances. "These machines share three characteristics: They often have an unusual design to differentiate them from typical PCs; they include Web, e-mail, File Transport Protocol (FTP) and local area network (LAN) server functions; and they do so in a single box that runs Linux or FreeBSD Unix, a low-cost Unix product."

SecurityPortal's Kurt Seifried asks the question, "Why don't vendors ship the software they use themselves?". "Most Linux vendors ship the same general packages - Sendmail for SMTP mail services, WuFTPD for FTP, Telnet for remote access and so on. The kicker, though, is that most of these vendors use different software on their servers."

Wizards of the Coast plans to release its new version of the popular role playing game "Dungeons & Dragons". "When the 3rd edition of D&D is released in August, Wizards plans to give the core rules for the game away for anyone to use and amend, hoping that when other companies publish games, whether they are supplements for the basic D&D game or new games entirely, it will lead gamers back into the fold."


Here's a lengthy introductory article in Colorado Biz. "So why Linux? Corporate customers are beginning to see Linux as an inexpensive fit for applications that run on their servers, especially those that run web sites, databases and e-mail systems. Linux is available at little or no cost and can be freely copied. Its reputation for reliability means it can take fewer people to troubleshoot a Linux system." There's also a quote from LWN editor Liz Coolbaugh.

Here is an article about Linux's success in the recent SPECWeb99 benchmark. "To us at Signal Ground, the most interesting aspect of this benchmark was the SMP scalability of the Linux systems. 1, 2, and 4-processor Linux boxes earned scores of 1270, 2200, and 4200, respectively."

ZDNet repeated the recent Netcraft results we mentioned in last week's LWN. "A real-time survey of Web servers revealed that in June the Apache Web server free software bundled with most Linux distributions has surpassed 10 million installations. That number far outstrips the 3.5 million installations of Microsoft's Web server software, according to the Internet consultancy Netcraft survey . The Apache software accounts for an increasing number of Web servers almost 63 percent in June while Microsoft's share of the market is decreasing."

Then ZDNet put up this brief item claiming that the number of Linux-based web users is declining. "Up until April, the percentage of Web surfers using Linux rode a nice upswing, doubling from .16% in January of 1999 to .32% (see below). Since then, it has dropped to .27% as of last week, according to exclusive new data from WebSideStory's StatMarket."

The New York Times takes a look at China's Linux policies. "'We don't want one company to monopolize the software market,' said Chen Chong, a deputy minister of information industries who oversees the computer industry in China. With Linux, 'we can control the security,' he added, so 'we can control our own destiny.'" (Thanks to Donald Braman and Dan Ginsberg) (The NY Times is a Registration Required site.)

La Republica looks (in Italian) at Linux in China. "E' il software dall'anima pi 'comunista' in circolazione e non sorprende che il governo cinese abbia deciso di adottarlo in massa." ("It's the most 'communist' in spirit software around and it's not surprising that the Chinese government has decided to adopt it massively"). English text is available via Babelfish. (Thanks to Massimo Marengo).

ZDNet ran this article about Linux in handheld systems. "But it's not necessarily all about people who hate Microsoft. Linux developers said the hardware of Windows CE devices is more suitable for Linux, compared to the relatively lower processing power of current Palm devices. 'People are making business decisions about Linux,' said Jon Prial, director of marketing at IBM's Pervasive Computing division. 'It's a minority of the people who are doing this out of anti-Microsoft sentiment.'"

InternetWeek looks at the list of companies considered "Microsoft Partners", such as Intel, Dell, Compaq, etc., and how many of them are hedging their bets with Linux. "'It's a wide open operating system war,' said Gartner Group Linux analyst George Weiss. 'They don't want to be tied to a single operating system.'".

Upside examines the affect of the Microsoft break-up on Linux. "Only two things prevent future "Baby Bills" from taking over the Linux market, Kusnetzky says. The first is the outcome of the current Microsoft appeal, which even if unsuccessful, would provide enough of a delay for current Linux distributors to build their own connections."

Licenses and Patents.

ZDNet looks at alternative operating systems. "Will the Plan 9 bunny become as popular as the Linux penguin or the BSD deamon? I don't know, but it's cute enough to have its place among the other mascots."

Here's an Upside article on software patents. "As for community-owned technologies such as Linux and Apache, [Ray] Alderman sees them as the wild card that makes the embedded systems market a particularly scary environment over the next five years. Although companies seem to accept the conditions of things like the General Public License (GNU), such conditions do not protect the underlying source code from patent claims."


The July issue of LinuxFocus magazine has been announced (English version). Translation into other languages is on-going.

This issue has articles on:
  • Pseudo 3D with Gimp
  • Virtual Network Computing, as known as VNC
  • An Introduction to Perl's XML::XSLT module
  • Introduction to LDAP under Linux
  • Developing Gnome Application with Python
  • Installing Debian packages of LinuxFocus
  • Using Serial Line LCD displays under Linux

LinuxOrbit tries to install Linux on a laptop. "I wasted a couple of hours hunting down the fixes for the SuSE 6.3 install, and feel like given a little more time and effort, I could get it installed. But since I had Mandrake 7.1 available, I thought I'd let it have a shot.

The Mandrake 7.1 install was about as smooth as I could hope for. No problems encountered and the last step of the install was configuring X, which was also flawless. Very impressive. "

LinuxPapers discusses configuration files. "Linux is famous for being 'hard to configure.'
This sentence is definitely inaccurate. In fact, the word 'Linux' refers exclusively to the kernel, i.e. that piece of software which is launched before any other program, and provides basic support (at a functional level) to every program launched thereafter.


LinuxDevices took a look at the Indrema entertainment system. "Gildred and the other Indrema founders observed that there were lots of innovations taking place for PC-based games, but not much for consumer game consoles, due to high barriers to entry for individual developers that kept them from breaking into the console market. So, they resolved to create a new game console. One designed, from the ground up, to provide a game development environment and infrastructure capable of enabling any level of developer -- from an individual to a large corporation -- to bring products to market easily, and without huge barriers to entry. And they decided that the keys to accomplishing this mission would be open source software, open APIs, and the Linux operating system."

The Duke of URL has a new review of XFree86 4.0.1. The review includes benchmarks, and overview, and the latest NVidia drivers, version 0.9-4.

IBM's DeveloperWorks site has posted this paper comparing Linux and NT in the server role. "Linux will soon surpass NT in most if not all network service applications. It is an open source, multi-vendor, and multi-platform server operating system solution. It is stable, versatile, and powerful, and it can be free. Anything Windows NT can do, it can do as well and often better; and the Justice Department is not trying to break up any Linux shops."

Tucows has run this opinion piece claiming that Linux software companies are buying good reviews with free (as in "no charge") software. "A good example of this is the new version of Mandrake that recently came out. The reviews on it were great, so great in fact, that no one mentioned anything about the down side. Now, it is a great OS for Linux, and I will be the first to tell you that, but it also has some software conflicts and bugs that were never reported in most reviews. I spoke with some of the people who wrote reviews on Mandrake and they said that they don't like writing negative things because they get all this software free from Mandrake."

ZDNet reports on Chad Simonds' Tucows article on Linux software reviews. "While some will find such claims shocking, journalists are all too familiar with such attempts to manipulate reviews. 'This is an endemic problem with publications that don't pay their writers,' claims one editor. 'You get what you pay for. And, when the only 'pay' is coming from the vendor, well what do you expect?'"

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

July 13, 2000


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See also: last week's Announcements page.



Creating Filesystems (LinuxNewbie.org). LinuxNewbie.org has made available this "newbieized help file" on creating filesystems and swap partitions. "The '-f' option should probably be avoided, unless of course you know what you are doing (but if you are reading this NHF, the chances that you do are not real high)."

Embedded Linux Update for July 6, 2000. LinuxDevices.com has this listing of stories they have run over the past week. Many of them have already appeared in the pages of LWN, but if you are looking for news about embedded Linux, check it out.


O'Reilly Network at the Open Source Conference. Whether you're attending O'Reilly's conference or not you can keep up through the O'Reilly Network.

IDG to convene CEOs at LinuxWorld. IDG World Expo announced a "no-holds-barred" roundtable of top Linux executives at the upcoming LinuxWorld Conference & Expo. LinuxWorld will be held at the San Jose Convention Center, August 14-17, 2000.

NLUUG Autumn Conference CFP. The Dutch Unix User Group (NLUUG) has put out a call for participation for those who would like to do a presentation or tutorial at the November 9 conference. Talks can be in either English or Dutch; the deadline is August 25.

Web sites

SiliconPenguin.com launches. A new site called SiliconPenguin.com has announced its existence. It aims to be an embedded Linux portal.

July 13, 2000



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
Advanced Midnight Commander 4.1.35-A11 An alternative version of the Midnight Commander file-manager.
aewm 0.9.10 A minimalistic window manager for X
AFD 1.1.8 A file distribution system.
Alkaline UNIX/NT Search Engine 1.3 06-Jul-2000 Web site and intranet search engine and spider, ala Altavista or Excite.
Alzabo 0.04a Perl data modelling tool and RDBMS-OO mapper.
am-utils 6.0.4 A filesystem automounter.
Amazon Searcher .02 Searches Amazon's book store for your website
Apache Compile Kit 7.1 A compilation kit for Apache with PHP and other modules.
Apache::ASP 1.95 Active Server Pages port to Apache, using Perl.
APG 1.22 A Java app that generates Web photo galleries.
ATBD Library 1.0.0 This library provides support to create and manage automats.
Bandwidth Monitor 1.0.2 A simple utility to view current bandwidth usage.
Bastille Linux 1.1.1.pre2 A comprehensive hardening program for Redhat Linux 6.0.
bayonne 0.4 Bayonne is the telephony server of the GNU project
bib2html 0.2.2 A BibTeX to HTML converter.
biew 5.1.2 Binary/Hex/Disasm viewer/editor
Big Bubba 0.1 Automatically deletes users who don't answer an automated e-mail within X days.
BinDumper 0.13 A binary/hex file dumper; human-readable output of binary files.
bnuview 1.1 Binary file tile viewer
bookmarker 2.5.0 WWW based bookmark manager
BusyBox 0.46 A suite of tiny Unix utilities, for building rescue disks and embedded systems.
BW-Admin 1.72 A Quake2 server admin & cheat detection plug-in.
BWNM 1.1 Finds computer shares on a windows network and mounts them.
cal_up.sh 3.1.2 Automate updates to any Caldera box.
Cannon Smash 0.4.2 3D tabletennis game
CarbonKernel 1.2 A real-time operating system simulator.
cards.py 1.0 Python playing card class.
Cbrowser 0.8 Graphical c/c++ source code searching and browsing tool
cd-2-mp3 0.3-PL An MP3 ripper and encoder.
CDCollectorPHP 0.3 A Web-based interface to adding CDs to a database.
CD_Aud 1.31 A CD-ROM audio-playing class for C++.
CEnsemble 0.04 A distibuted communication toolkit.
cfv 1.1 Tests and creates .sfv, .csv, and md5sum checksum verification files.
cgichk 2.31 A simple Web vulnerability scanner.
Checkservice 0.8.5 A service checker for multiple (remote) hosts.
chessdgm 1.0 Produces a chess diagram from a chess postion file.
Chessy 0.2b An Internet Chess Club interface for KDE.
Ciao Prolog 1.6 An advanced constraint logic programming environment.
class.tree.php3 1.0.0 A PHP class for easy construction of expandable list trees.
Clatter 1.0.2 XHTML chat room in PHP
CoasterWorks 0.1 A free RollerCoaster Tycoon clone using SDL.
CodeCommander 0.9.5 Multi language programming IDE.
Common UNIX Printing System 1.1 Internet Printing System for UNIX
CompTest 1.1b A test and verification suite for the TCL compiler.
cop 0.4 Simple generation of <body> tags for Web sites.
countdown 1.1 A shell script to display a nice visual countdown.
Courier-IMAP 0.36 IMAP server for maildirs
Coyote Linux 1.20RC4 A single-floppy distribution for sharing an Internet connection.
crc-files 0.1 Command line utility for CRC testing of files.
Crypt::OTP 1.02 A Perl implementation of the One Time Pad encryption method.
CustomDNS 0.2 Modular DNS with a database backend.
cvs-nserver Rewritten network-related parts of CVS
cvsauth 0.1.6 A setuid wrapper for CVS pserver.
cyrus-imapd-sql 1.6.24-7 An IMAPd with SQL authencation, virtual domains support, and CGI administration.
DBD::SQLrelay 0.1 Perl DBI driver for SQL Relay databse interface.
Design/CPN 4.0.3 A graphical tool supporting the use of Coloured Petri Nets.
Destrukht 1.0 beta Object Oriented HTML abstraction layer for PHP.
DeXtop 2.1 Graphical User Interface & Desktop Management System for Linux.
diffconvert 1.2 A converter between context diff and unidiff formats.
dillo 0.2.2 An HTML browser.
Dlint 1.3.4 A Domain Name Server Verification Utility
dmalloc 4.6.0 Portable dynamic heap memory debugging library.
dnshack.pl 1.0 A quick program to update dynamic DNS via command line.
Doc++ 3.4.4 Powerful Javadoc like C++ documentation creation tool.
DocLint 1.0a1 Checks the JavaDoc documentation in your Java source code.
dopewars 1.4.8 Drug dealing game set in New York
dsproxy 0.2.11 Hijacking proxy for /dev/dsp.
EasyTAG 0.9 A utility for tagging MP3 files.
ECLiPt Roaster 2.0 beta 3 GTK Interface to MkIsoFs and CDRecord for writing CDs on the fly
eFractal 0.3.1 A fractal manipulation and experimentation program.
EJBWizard 2.0.19 Java GUI app to generate EJBs for the JOnAS system.
elvind 4.0a1 Content-based notification service/message router.
EnzymeTemplates 0.5.2 EnzymeTemplates are late-binding, database-backed, and object-oriented.
EPIC 4pre2.600 An ANSI-capable textmode IRC client.
eSwirl 0.9d A swirl screen-saver generator and manipulator.
etach 1.1.1 An Emacs extension for MIME email attachments.
EText Reader 0.0.3 EText Reader
Etherboot 4.6.3 Source code for making TCP/IP boot ROMs to boot Linux and other OSes.
Expresso Framework 1.06 A library of extensible Java components for building Web applications.
ext2ncsa 1.1 A W3C Extended-to-NCSA log converter.
Exuberant Ctags 4.0.2 An improved implementation of CTAGS.
Exult 0.35 Ultima 7 world viewer.
EyB Web interface for administration and modification of databases.
fairsched 0.44-2.4.0-test3 A fair CPU scheduler for Linux.
FF4L 0.3 Increases the accuracy of the locate command under Linux.
filedb 0.2 A file organizing tool for CDs.
FilterProxy 0.23 A filtering proxy server.
findsym 1.0 Searches through your shared libraries for a symbol.
floppycopy 0.1 console or GUI interface to copy floppy disk to image files.
FocalMail 2.0.0 Beta 1 Web based email interface which allows you to manage your mail
Free Reign 0.0.5 A fully-3D city simulator.
FreeMind 0.0.3 A mindmapping tool.
frenchie 1.1.0 A simple POP3 mail fetch utility.
ftpd-BSD 0.3.2 Linux port of OpenBSD's ftp server
ftpq 0.11 ftp upload queue manager for non-permanent net connection.
ftpxx 0.1 FTP C++ library
FTX 1.3.02 A text editor for Url Encoded Text.
g2 [GTKGecko] 0.0.1a2-1 GTK+ interface to the Gecko HTML rendering engine.
GalaxyNG 4-4a A server for a multi-player play-by-email spacewar game.
Galeon 0.6b A GNOME Web browser.
Game Boy Catalog / Launcher 0.3 An application to handle Gameboy ROMs and configure/run VGB for any of these.
GamesNET Services 0.2 IRC Services.
GBNBot 01.06 Battle.Net Bot
GCO 0.2.2 A database for keeping track of your comic collection.
gEDA 20000704 gEDA is an collection of tools which are used to make electrical circuit design,
gedit 0.9.0 A GNOME text editor.
GeekLog 0.4.0 A PHP and MySQL weblog.
GeneWeb A genealogy program with a Web interface.
Getent 1.1.1 passwd/group/services lookup utilities
Getleft 0.8.7 Tcl/Tk site grabber powered by Curl
gFTP 2.0.7 A multithreaded ftp client for X Windows
gimp-print 3.1.8 Print plug-in for the GIMP and GhostScript driver for Epson printers.
GKrellM 0.10.3 System monitor package
glFtpD 1.21 FTP Daemon for Linux. Great program for an ISP or anyone!
gmail 0.5.1 Gmail is an experiment in an sql vfolder-based email system.
gmbase 1.00 A member database program for smaller organizations.
GNOME Stock Ticker A scrolling stock ticker applet for the GNOME panel.
GNOME-DB 0.0.96 GNOME Database Access
GNOME-Iconedit 1.2.0 A GNOME icon editor.
GnoP 0.1 A library for creating configuration dialogs.
GNU GRUB 0.5.95 GRand Unified Bootloader
GnuCash 1.5.0 A program to keep track of your finances
go-moku 0.10 Console based Networked GO-MOKU aka Five in row game.
GOB 1.0.3 Preprocessor for building GTK+ Object
Goblin 0.2.1 IDE for Web site development and management.
GProc 0.6.0-pre1 Easy-to-use process managment tool
GProc-Applet 0.6.0tpre1 GNOME process manager
gquotes 0.0.10 Quotes monitoring tool.
Grin 0.1.3 A news and email client for GNOME.
gspy 0.1.1 A Gnome V4L Security Camera Application
gtk+licq 0.39 Gtk+ plugin for Licq
GTK+XFce 3.4.3 Easy-to-use and easy-to-configure environment for X11
GtkFoonGrep 0.0.1 Program you can search in the dutch phonenumber databases.
gtkmail 1.0.3 gtk-- mail client
GtkSpell 0.1 A GtkText addon for MSWord-style spell checking.
GTuxNES 0.74.1 GTK based GUI lanuncher for TuxNES emulator
GuardDog 0.9.1 User friendly firewall generation/management utility for KDE.
guile-pg 0.07 A Guile PostgreSQL interface module.
hagelslag 0.7.1 A Gnutella clone.
Half-life Admin MOD A plugin mod to Half-Life.
hc-cron A modified version of Paul Vixie's widely used cron daemon
help2man 1.022 A program to generate simple manual pages
hindent 1.1.2 HTML indentation (pretty printing) utility
hostup 0.0.5 Remote host update utility
HP OfficeJet Linux Driver 0.5 Linux support for the HP Officejet All-In-One series.
hping2 2.0.0 beta 54 Network auditing / testing tool
HTML Macro Extension for NEDIT Release 1 A NEDIT-Macro Collection for HTML-Editing
httptunnel 3.0.3 Creates a two-way data tunnel through an HTTP proxy
Hue 0.1 Hotline User Editor.
Hugo 1.2 Moving map software with GPS ability.
i4lctrl 0.6.7 An isdn4linux monitor and config tool for Webmin.
id3lib 3.7.12 An ID3v1/ID3v2 tagging library.
IDebug 0.95 An advanced debugging framework for Java.
imghide 0.0 Hide your data in an image
inoize 1.0 MP3 sharing software with encrypted streaming to prevent copyright violation.
Intelligent TETRIS 1.6.2 A tetris clone for SVGAlib or X11
IPchains Firewalling Module for Webmin 0.80.2 A Webmin module for configuring an IP Firewall based on IPchains.
ipchainsxx 0.1 C++ library for easy ipchains control
iplog 2.2.1 tcp, udp, and icmp logging utilities for Linux.
IPW 0.1 Repasswords and mails user on systems where email is forwarded.
irssi 0.7.93 GTK+ based IRC client with GNOME panel support
ISO8211Lib 0.9 ISO/IEC 8211 library
J.O.O.D.A. 0.3.21 Java-IDE with nice features
jaim 0.71 A Perl console AIM client.
Java 2 Software Development Kit 1.3 A Java development platform.
Java Bomberman 12.jul.2000 A multiplayer game for Java.
Java Napster 0.75 Java GUI clone of the Napster client for downloading MP3s.
jEdit 2.5 Powerful text editor
jegl 0.1alpha An Eiffel interface to SDL.
Jetty 2.4.5 HTTP/1.1 Servlet server written in Java
jftpgw 0.0.9 small ftp proxy
JIRC 1.02 Simple Perl IRC Bot skeleton.
JLJ 1.2 A text-only LiveJournal.com client.
jPrintf 1.0 A pure Java implementation of printf with extended object-oriented features.
jslice 1.0.0 A JPEG-to-HTML table slicer.
Jungle Monkey 0.1.8 A distributed file-sharing program.
K&R EZ Web Tracker 2.0 PHP3/PostgreSQL Web Tracking System
Kahn Tracker 0.1 A Perl network server daemon that keeps track of all Kahn game servers.
karma 1.0.0 Oracle Database Monitor
knetfilter 1.1.1 A KDE frontend to iptables.
koala 0.9.3 GUI postgres backend 4GL object database.
kodicefiscale 0.2 KDE utility
KSI Scheme 3.2.5 An implementation of the Scheme programming language
kUimlRenderer 0.0.2 A UIML Renderer for Qt.
KWaves 0.95beta A sound mixing application.
KWC 0.0 A key width calculator.
LAME 3.85beta open source MP3 encoder and graphical frame analyzer
larswm 4.4 A tiling window manager built on 9wm.
lftp 2.2.3 Sophisticated command line based FTP client
libbgrab & webcam 2.1e bttv framegrabber library + webcam application
libgaudio 1.4 A game audio library.
libglade 0.14 XML-based runtime user interface loader for GNOME
libsndfile 0.0.20 A library for reading and writing sound files.
libsqlora8 2.0.0 A simple C library to access Oracle databases.
libzdt 2.0.2 A general purpose library written in C.
Licq 0.85 Advanced graphical ICQ clone and more for Unix
LinD&D Tools 2.3 A set of AD&D tools
LinNeighborhood 0.6.0 Linux Port of Windows Network Neighborhood
Linux Intrusion Detection System 0.9.7 Linux Kernel-Based Intrusion Detect System
Linux Telephony News 2.0.5 Retrieves Linux Telephony news
lm_sensors 2.5.2 LM78 and LM75 drivers
logi.crypto 1.1.1 Pure Java Strong Encryption Package
Loop 16.845 A graphics demo including multichannel sound and real-time effects.
lukemftp 1.4 the enhanced ftp client in NetBSD
maildrop 1.0 A mail filter/mail delivery agent.
Mailreader 2.3.19 Web-based POP-compatible email client.
mcfeely 3.31 fault-tolerant, asynchronous, ordered remote job execution
MeBay 0.3 A client for eBay.
Meeting Room Booking System 0.8-pre4 Multiple site meeting room bookings.
MemoPanel 6.4 A tiny memo applet on the GNOME panel.
mgetty-rawdata patch 0.2 raw data plugin patch for mgetty
mh-watch 0.0.1 Text Frontend for MH
MIKU 0.9 A program to send short mail notes via ordinary POP/SMTP.
MIME Defanger 0.3 Anti-virus mail filter.
Ming 0.0.2b SWF (flash) output library / PHP module
MinML 0.4 A small XML parser.
MIT Photonic-Bands 0.12 Software for computing photonic band structures.
ModLogAn 0.4.1 A modular logfile analyzer.
moof 0.5 mp3 player on one floppy
Mozart 0.0.4 Browser-based contact and case/project manager
MP3Master A Web-based MP3 jukebox with ID3 tag support.
mp4h 1.0.5 A macro processor for HTML documents.
mpatrol 1.2.5 A library for controlling and tracing dynamic memory allocations.
mpeglib 0.3.0b An MPEG audio/video library.
mrtg 2.9.0pre5 Multi Router Traffic Grapher
Mutt 1.2.4 Small but very powerful text-based mail client for Unix operatingsystems
MXTerm xf4.0.1 build 139 Motif xterm.
MyCodePage 0.11 A page to ease the maintenance of index pages for one's programming work.
myPACS 0.1 Web-based medical image management system.
myPHP usenet 0.9.9 Inserts posts from the usenet in a MySQL database, and provides a PHP3 backend.
nano 0.9.12 Pico editor clone with enhancements.
NCO 1.1.48 Operators for netCDF and HDF self-describing data files.
NDir 0.8.4 Console tool to display directory's contents
NeoMail A Web-based interface to user mail spools on a system.
Nessus 1.0.2 A free, open-sourced and easy-to-use security auditing tool
NetSaint 0.0.6b3 A relatively simple active network monitor
Novelty Application Server 1.5.1 An application server with a focus on working with XML in an easy way.
NukeUser 0.1 Removes a user from your system, including their domains and sendmail setup.
nvi 1.81.0 vi with an experimental GTK front end.
OBJ3 2.06 Order Sorted Algebra specification and proof system.
ObjectArtist snapshot20000701 A development tool to create OO-Software with UML
Obsequieuem 0.3.0 Network based MP3 RTP/multicast streaming jukebox
OpaL Mirror Tool 0.1.8 Web mirror tool
OpaL RPM Automation Toolkit 0.1.7 Automates the process of upgrading and installing rpm-packages.
Open Source Audio Library Project 0.4 C++ Audio class library
OpenCA 0.2.0-patch4 Open Certification Authority Package
OpenSSH Unix Port 2.1.1p3 Port of OpenBSD's free SSH release to Linux
OSS 3.9.3n Provides sound card drivers for most popular sound cards under Linux
Oz Deathmatch for Linux 2.0 Oz Deathmatch for Half-Life.
Pad 0.7 Command-line utility to perform PAD encryption/decryption.
Pan 0.8.1 beta 2 Gnome/GTK Newsreader
pdnsd 1.0.5 A proxy DNS server with permanent cache for dial-up systems and small networks.
PeaGnut 0.0.5 A Gnutella proxying daemon.
Perl Web Utilities 0.2.3 Perl modules and scripts to assist in webpage design
perlbot 1.2.1 An IRC bot in Perl written with simplicity in mind
Perpol 0.1.1 A Perl-based Forth variant.
petopt 0.7 C command line argument parsing library
pftp 1.1.6 A tool for IPv4, IPv6, TCP, UDP data transfer.
phpBookLoan 1.0 Simple PHP book 'checkout' system
phpCDTracker 0.2.0 PHP interface to a database for tracking music CDs.
phpGroupWare A Web-based software suite.
phpLang 0.2.2 Easy multi-language support for your Web site.
PHPLIB 7.2c Web Application Development Package for the PHP language
phpop 1.2.2 Simple PHP Web based POP e-mail reader
phpSecurePages 0.16b PHP4 multi-language login and password client authentication.
PingOO ISDN Router An ISDN mini-distribution to transform a computer in an ISDN router.
pks-commands.php3 0.1 PHP Pks server redirector
pm2v 354 A parallel MPEG II video encoder.
PRepS 1.4.4 The Problem Reporting and Tracking System.
ProcLog 3.4b Procmail log reporting tool
ProFTPD 1.2.0 RC1 Advanced, incredibly configurable and secure FTP daemon
Prototype Makefiles 1.6 A makefile collection/generator for fast setup of C/C++ projects using gcc/g++.
PScan 1.1 A limited problem scanner for 'printf' security holes in C source files.
Psunami Webboard 0.1a Release 2 A threaded Internet bulletin board.
pwiki-0.5.0 0.5.0 Web-based collaboration tool.
pyCA 0.6.4 A project to create Certification Authority in Python
pyftpd 0.5 An FTP daemon written in Python.
PySDL 0.0.7 A Python SDL module.
QUB 0.4.4 A front-end for playing any boardgame on your computer.
Quick&Easy Configuration Howto 1.1 An Italian guide to quick and easy configuration of a Linux box.
QVocab 0.22.3 A program to learn the vocabulary of a foreign language.
Radiometrix Device Drivers 0.80 Linux device drivers for the Radiometrix RPC radio.
RadiusReport 0.3b6 Radius log analyser and parser.
Randomposer 0.2.5-5c Composes some silly music.
randstr 1.1 Generates random strings matching a regex.
Reed 4.0 An autoscrolling etext reader.
Resynthesizer 0.2 Gimp plug-in for manipulating textures
REXEC 1.0 A secure, decentralized remote execution environment for clusters.
rip 1.0 Floppy linux boot/rescue system!
Roaminfo 0.01 RoamAbout Access Point information viewer.
RoboCommish 0.0 A Perl-based Fantasy Football League(s) management suite.
ROBODoc 3.2.2 Documentation tool for many programming languages
routeplanner 0.2 Highway trip planner
Rover Search Server 1.4.3 Personal Web Server for searching many search engines and more.
RPMbuilder 0.5.1a A program to make RPMs from .tar.gz packages.
RPMTools RPM Tools 0.1 A set of Perl scripts to manage RPM files.
Rudiments 0.11 C++ foundation classes.
RUE 0.51 Resource utilization explorer.
rwhois-client 1.6.0a1 Client + client library for the RWhois protocol.
rwhois.py 1.0 A recursive whois client/module and record parser.
S10sh 0.1.8 Software for the Canon S10 digital camera.
sawfish 0.30 An extensible window manager.
Scanner 0.50 A network port scanner.
SDLRoids 1.3.1 SDLRoids - an enhanced shoot-the-asteroids game.
SDPGL OpenGL call-trace library.
SDPGTK C++ wrappers for GTK+ and XML-based user interfaces.
Seahorse 0.4.9 A Gnome GUI for GnuPG.
Search And Rescue 0.1a Helicopter rescue simulation
Seattle Firewall 3.2 An easy-to-configure, ipchains-based firewall/gateway.
Secure-Linux Patch 2.2.16 version 1 Linux kernel patch to block most stack overflow exploits
sendEmail 1.22 A tool for sending SMTP email from a command prompt.
Sendmail PostgreSQL map patch 2.0 Patch for Sendmail 8.9.3 to allow PostgreSQL maps.
Serial Terminal Linux 0.3 A single-floppy distribution to make dumb serial terminals.
sfront 0.62 Translates MPEG 4 Structured Audio to C
SILC 10072000 Secure Internet Live Conferencing.
slackUp 1.0 A Slackware auto-upgrade utility.
Slackware Package Manager 1.1 A Slackware package manager.
Smart BootManager 3.4-1 A OS Independant boot manager.
Smart Sign 0.0.1 Smartcard support for OpenCA certification authority.
Smurf Sound Font Editor 0.49.5 Sound Font editor
Snort Libpcap packet sniffer/logger/lightweight IDS
snortstart 0.1 a wrapper to snort that aims at install snort in a chroot jail
Speetraf 0.2 An online traffic monitoring script for AON Complete (ADSL).
Spyrius 1.0 An extensible multithreaded TCP superdaemon.
SQL Abstraction Layer 0.5 An OO library for creating and manipulating SQL statements in PHP.
SQL Relay 0.16 A persistant database connection daemon with C, C++, and Perl APIs.
StegFS 1.1.2 Steganographic File System
StockTicker Applet 0.0.1 A gnome-panel applet to display stock quotes and graphs.
strutilsxx 0.4 Useful additional C++ string processing functions
Sunshine Commander 0.3.6 Crossplatform, consolebased FileManager
SuperSlack Boot Linux from a SuperDisk.
suricate 1.0 Delivers Meerkat content to wireless handheld devices.
SWARM 0.30 Simulation of an ARM processor in C++.
TableMap 0.6.1 A Perl module mapping relational tables to hashes.
taglog 0.1.11 Computerised logbook, reports time spent by project, todo manager.
tcsysmon 1.41 System monitor dock app for WindowMaker/AfterStep
tdasm 0.1.2 Free portable cross assembler for any kind of assembly language.
TEG 0.3.0 Yet another RISK clone.
The Glasgow Haskell Compiler 4.08 A compiler for Haskell 98
The Java SSH/Telnet Application/Applet 2.0 Fully featured telnet program for WWW-Browsers
The Kiwi Toolkit 1.1.9 Java foundation class library that complements the JFC
Thorn 0.1a8 UML Modeling Application
tiny cobol 0.1.5 COBOL compiler.
TkDVI 0.3 A TeX DVI previewer based on Tcl/Tk
tkmessage 0.1 A GUI frontend for xmessage.
ToolBot 0.2 Alpha An IRC bot for providing the features that IRC should've had in the first place.
toshset 1.4 Command-line access to Toshiba laptop hardware.
trplayer 1.1.0 A text-based RealMedia player.
tsocks 1.6 Transparent SOCKS proxying library
TuxNES 0.74 Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Emulator
twin 0.3.3 A text-mode window manager and terminal emulator.
UML2SQL 0.8.0 tool to synchronize SQL databases with UML diagrams
upd 3.01 Makes hiscores of your best five uptimes, ready for when showing off!
user-online 0.1 bugfix A php-script to track which users are currently 'online'.
userman 0.2 Script for managing user accounts.
vcboard 0.2a A Virtual ChessBoard.
VDK 1.2.2 Easy-to-use C++ wrapper for Gtk++.
VDKBuilder 1.2.2 A RAD tool based on the VDK Library (a C++ wrapper of GTK+).
vhl-tools 1.0 Utilities, patches, and docs for Linux on the VTech Helio PDA.
VigMeUp 1.0.3 An alarm program for KDE that plays mp3s to wake you up.
VoidPOP3 0.1.4 Another POP3 server.
vtxboerse 0.25.2 Retrieves, displays, and analyzes stocks via teletext.
W3Perl 2.70 WWW logfile analysis program
WAPMail (PHP) 0.2 Get an E-Mail via a WAP Phone
wapstat Monitors a server and generates WML pages for WAP mobile phones.
watchpid 0.1 Waits for PID to terminate and terminates PID if watchpid is terminated itself.
Web Whois 1.0 Finds appropriate web whois engine
Web-FTP 1.1.3 A lightweight Perl/CGI FTP client
web2ldap 0.7.7 A Python LDAP-client running as a CGI-BIN.
Webgallery 1.1.0 Creates a Web-based gallery of images with thumbnails.
WebNap 0.9 A Web-based Napster client written entirely in PHP.
webplay 0.87a Web-based mp3 jukebox and streamer with variable bitrate & stream control.
Wget Download Webmin Module 0.80.1 A download manager with a Webmin-based interface.
WMND 0.0.1 Network device traffic monitoring dock app for WindowMaker
wmtheme 0.9 A window manager theme utility.
wnm 1.3 Python script which uses smbmount to mount an entire Windows network.
WorldOS 0.2 Application server for Gnutella or Freenet style apps
WorldWide Web Performance Monitoring 1.03 Web performance monitoring tool.
wxWindows/GTK 2.2.0 GTK port of the cross-platform wxWindows C++application framework class library
X-CD-Roast 0.98alpha6 A program-package dedicated to easy CD creation underLinux
XCmail 1.2 MIME and POP3 capable mailtool for X11
Xfiles 1.4 Xfiles file tree synchronization and cross-validation
XiG 3D Drivers for Laptops 1.1 3D Accelerated-X drivers for laptops.
XMail 0.55 An SMTP/POP3/popsync/finger server.
XMLBoard 1.1.0 A multi-forum message board.
XMLBoard Solo 1.1.0 XMLBoard alternative
XMLtp 1.4 Tiny XML parser
XMMS 1.2.2 X MultiMedia System
xpuyopuyo 0.4.2 Tetris-like puzzle game with AI
Yacas 1.0.38 Yet Another Computer Algebra System
yafc 0.5.6 Yet Another FTP Client
YASE 0.9.0 Text indexing and retrieval system.
Zodiac 0.4.9 DNS protocol analysis tool.

Our software announcements are provided courtesy of FreshMeat


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See also: last week's Back page page.

Linux Links of the Week

An Atlas of Cyberspaces is a great resource for those interested in how the net is put together. It's full of Internet maps, graphical route tracers (like xtraceroute, shown here), and many, many other goodies.

Haven't had enough licensing talk? SourceForge has set up a forum dedicated to the discussion of software licenses.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

July 13, 2000



This week in history

Two years ago (July 16, 1998 LWN), the KDE/GNOME flamewars may well have hit their peak. It was no fun.
Because it is 100% Open Source, because it is technically quite good, and because of the wisdom of its development team, GNOME will become the standard GUI for Linux. A large portion of the free software community will simply not accept KDE because of the Qt license.

-- Bruce Perens on Slashdot.

The screaming notwithstanding, KDE 1.0 was released this week.

The development kernel release was still 2.1.108. Much discussion occurred on troubles with the 2.1 memory management subsystem - a conversation which continues, with many of the same participants, to this day. The 2.0.35 stable kernel was released this week.

The Debian 2.0 release was in its third beta, with only 39 release critical bugs left to be fixed. Transvirtual released Kaffe 1.0. And Netscape was proclaiming the success of the Mozilla project, with a Communicator 5.0 release expected by the end of the year.

One year ago (July 15, 1999 LWN) was a relatively slow time in the Linux world. The development kernel was at 2.3.10. The allegedly stable kernel was 2.2.10, but the kernel hackers were working hard to be sure that a file corruption bug was truly stamped out before releasing 2.2.11.

The Debian project, meanwhile, pondered freezing the 2.2 "potato" version, with talk of a possible release in September (of 1999!).

A slightly different sort of endorsement came in this week:

Once I explain what Linux is, I am certain you will understand why it is important for the Christian community of computer users to embrace it. More Internet sites use Linux on their servers than any other OS. Linux is revolutionizing the information technology (IT) universe just like the early Church changed the Roman Empire in the first century AD.

--Darren Remington, Christian Computing.



Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor should be sent to letters@lwn.net. Preference will be given to letters which are short, to the point, and well written. If you want your email address "anti-spammed" in some way please be sure to let us know. We do not have a policy against anonymous letters, but we will be reluctant to include them.
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000 18:39:30 -0400
From: "Jay R. Ashworth" <jra@baylink.com>
To: letters@lwn.net
CC: torvalds@transmeta.com, risks@csl.sri.com
Subject: Aw, shit.

I've had to disagree with some impressive people in my time, but never
with Linus Himself.


Last weeks' Linux Weekly News quotes Linus, from the Kernel mailing
list <http://lwn.net/2000/0706/a/latencylinus.php3>, concerning a
debate on Linux kernel latency (and realtime extensions):
> Well, I personally would rather see that nobody ever needed RTlinux at
> all. I think hard realtime is a waste of time, myself, and only to be used
> for the case where the CPU speed is not overwhelmingly fast enough (and
> these days, for most problems the CPU _is_ so overwhelmingly "fast enough"
> that hard realtime should be a non-issue).

If you want to assume that raw processor speed is enough to make
(hard) real-time a "non-issue", you have to be willing to bet -- your
life, because that's part of what hard real-time systems are all about
-- that there is not *one line of code in your entire system* that can
hang against real time running, keeping the machine from responding
within the prescribed latency to an external stimulus.

Nothing in the user apps.  Nothing in the kernel.  Nothing in the
device drivers.

That is a *LOT* of code to verify.  Given the degree of complexity of
today's instruction sets, I'm tempted to say it's not possible to do
it.  It's certainly a lot easier if all you have to validate is the
Hard-RT kernel and the code you want to run.

Yes, for soft-realtime, this approach ought to work nicely.  But the
hard-RT guys are solving a problem that differs not merely in
degree, but in *kind*, even though it may appear to be merely a more
stringent application.

When that limit sensor on the robot arm that's about to pin you
against the wall trips, you do *not* want a hard drive spin-up (or
someone's bad code) to get you killed.

(And yes, I realize that if you are working on life-safety type
systems, you need to be evaluating every line of your code anyway; my
point is that, if you can verify that the hard-RT kernel is the only
part that needs to be validated, then that's all you need to check to
that level of thoroughness -- and that's a *much* shorter code path,

-- jra
Jay R. Ashworth                                                jra@baylink.com
Member of the Technical Staff     
The Suncoast Freenet
Tampa Bay, Florida     http://baylink.pitas.com                +1 727 804 5015

Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000 17:22:39 -0700 (PDT)
From: Linus Torvalds <torvalds@transmeta.com>
To: "Jay R. Ashworth" <jra@baylink.com>
Subject: Re: Aw, shit.

On Thu, 6 Jul 2000, Jay R. Ashworth wrote:
> > [ Me quoted on not being all that excited about hard-realtime ]
> If you want to assume that raw processor speed is enough to make
> (hard) real-time a "non-issue", you have to be willing to bet -- your
> life, because that's part of what hard real-time systems are all about
> -- that there is not *one line of code in your entire system* that can
> hang against real time running, keeping the machine from responding
> within the prescribed latency to an external stimulus.
> Nothing in the user apps.  Nothing in the kernel.  Nothing in the
> device drivers.

Hey. I write OS's for a living. If my _life_ depended on something
specific having 5usec latencies, I'd prefer not to have a hard-RT OS under
it at all. There are always bugs, and branding something "hard realtime"
does not make those bugs go away.

Look at QNX on Mars. Yes, it worked in the end, but that was a bug _due_
to trying to be real-time. It happens. Priority inversion. Programmer
error. TLB and cache worst-case schenarios that nobody thought about and
never got caught in testing.

If you're _that_ latency-critical, I would suggest special hardware to do
the latency-critical stuff, and running a specialized app on that
hardware. I'd sure prefer not to use standard PC parts, thank you very

Use a real OS on "regular" hardware for the non-critical stuff, like the
pretty pictures to control and show what's going on.

> Yes, for soft-realtime, this approach ought to work nicely.  But the
> hard-RT guys are solving a problem that differs not merely in
> degree, but in *kind*, even though it may appear to be merely a more
> stringent application.

"My problems are so special that I can only run my own code".

Sure. But if that's _really_ the case you'd better run it in memory that
the "untrusted" OS cannot even touch. And on hardware that the untrusted
OS has a hard time corrupting.

Either it is critical or it isn't. If it's critical, you don't stop at the
OS level, you go all the way. If it isn't, then you're a _lot_ better off
usually just getting standard components and just stacking the hardware in
your favour (ie "too much memory, too fast CPU, too fast disk, and to hell
with hard real-time").

In short, I don't think there are all that many applications where "hard
realtime" makes sense in a general-purpose OS. And it sure as hell should
not be an interface that somebody doing streaming video and audio should
_ever_ touch.


Date: Fri, 07 Jul 2000 00:55:24 +0800
From: Leon Brooks <leon@brooks.smileys.net>
To: editor@lwn.net
Subject: Defacing websites

Last week's LWN covered an article which osOpinion was kind enough to
publish for me
(http://www.osopinion.com/Opinions/LeonBrooks/LeonBrooks5.html). Most of
the feedback has been extremely positive, but I had one chap go off at
me for advocating the defacement of websites. I do indeed advocate the
defacement of a website in the article, but hasten to point out that it
is at the invitation of the site's owner.

The principle can be illustrated by a story about Tetzel. This
enterprising lad, a member of the Papal Court, was out and about hawking
indulgences for the benefit of the Holy Roman Spiritual Empire. An
indulgence was (is) a document purporting to remit a particular sin or
class of sin, past present _or_future_. "Father, forgive me, for I am
about to sin?" "...for I am sinning?" Hmmm... very Microsoft... anyway,
a gentleman bought an indulgence from Tetzel permitting him to indulge
in armed robbery.

As Tetzel subsequently left town with his (copious) ill-gotten gains,
lo, who should step from the bushes armed and dangerous but our recently
accredited highwayman - who promptly absconded with said ill-gotten

Tetzel then had the man arrested and brought to trial, at which trial
the indulgence was produced. The judge asked Tetzel to verify that his
signature and hence the indulgence behind it was valid. What was a man
to do? There would have been dozens of spectators present who had
purchased their own indulgences. Tetzel said yes, the judge said [klonk]
case dismissed.

Following the same principle, and bearing in mind his record, I advocate
breaking John Teztel's, sorry Taschek's, hack-me site Windows system(s)
if you're sure you can. After all, he asked you to. Just be careful to
make the fact public and obvious. And if you can't surely break them,
avoid his site and get on with something useful.

Linux will not get in the door by simply mentioning it... it must win
by proving itself superior. We have no marketing department, our sales
department is an FTP server in North Carolina and our programming
department spans 7 continents. Am I getting through? -- Signal11 (/.)
Eklektix, Inc. Linux powered! Copyright © 2000 Eklektix, Inc., all rights reserved
Linux ® is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds